Past presidents have a unique position to see abuses of power and use their platform to call out these abuses.
By Nasim Ahmed | Middle East Monitor | Nov 16, 2020
It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine.
— Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the USA
Upon leaving office, US Presidents have, on occasion, mustered the courage to speak their mind about America’s relationship with Israel and the influence of the Zionist lobby in Washington. Jimmy Carter is perhaps best known for this. The 39th President of the USA, despite his role in mediating the 1979 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, was denounced as an anti-Semite following the publication of his 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which went on to become a New York Times bestseller.
After a fierce backlash, Carter explained why it was so difficult for US politicians to discuss America’s relationship with Israel and the policies of the Zionist state in an honest fashion. “It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine,” he wrote in the Guardian at the time. “Very few would deign to visit the Palestinian cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Gaza City or Bethlehem and talk to the beleaguered residents.” He urged his fellow Americans to know the facts about the “abominable oppression of the Palestinians.”
The ultimate purpose of his book, said Carter, was to present facts about the Middle East that are largely unknown in America, to precipitate discussion and help restart peace talks that can lead to permanent peace for Israel and its neighbours. “Another hope is that Jews and other Americans who share this goal might be motivated to express their views, even publicly, and perhaps in concert.”